The Pitfalls of Inconsistent Leadership
Emotionally intelligent leaders are consistent. Consistency creates a sense of emotional stability and safety. Without consistency, your team is likely to be unaligned and not optimally productive.
If a leader allows his mood or emotions to drive how he interacts with his team, those who report to him won’t know which version of him will show up each day. This leads to uncertainty, confusion, and ultimately job dissatisfaction and unhealthy turnover as the rules of engagement constantly shift.
Consistently, I remind my executive coaching clients that they’re always “on stage.” Employees notice when the boss arrives at work, how she reacts to bad news, the tone of his voice when he’s frustrated, the look on her face when certain people speak, to whom he says hello or chooses to look away.
To be effective, master self-awareness, and consciously choose to be the example you want your team to follow.
Sending Inconsistent Messages Damages Credibility
Inconsistency by leaders is a virus that plagues many workplaces. The do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do management style doesn’t work and probably never has. Today’s high functioning teams are led by people who are acutely aware that it is critical to align their words and actions.
The mismatch between words and behavior erodes trust and credibility. For example, talking about having a sense of urgency, but showing up late for meetings or missing deadlines. Talking about integrity, but not admitting to not knowing the answer or making mistakes. Talking about trust, but not trusting others to do their job. Talking about accountability, but not keeping your word or following through on promises or agreements.
Trust is essential if you want employees who willingly follow you into battle. If you’re struggling with a lack of commitment, or inconsistent, lackluster performance from your team, first look within to make sure you reinforce your words with your behavior. Align your walk and talk.
The 4 Building Blocks of Successful Organizational Change
In 2003, McKinsey introduced “the influence model” which laid out the four building blocks for successfully managing organizational change. Recently, the firm examined organizations that underwent successful transformations and found that they were eight times more likely to have used all four of the following “influence model” building blocks:
- Role modeling. Leaders, colleagues and staff changed the way they behaved.
- Fostering understanding and conviction. The companies made sure the change made sense to all parties involved.
- Developing talent and skills, giving affected staff opportunities to learn new mindsets and behaviors.
- Reinforcing with formal mechanisms by providing structures, processes and support systems that buttress the change.
These four building blocks have proven to be paramount when people and teams transition to the new.